Disability Rights Montana’s mission is to protect and advocate for the human, legal, and civil rights of Montanans with disabilities while advancing dignity, equality, and self-determination.
We envision a society where people with disabilities have equality of opportunity and are able to participate fully in community life by exercising choice and self-determination.
- People with disabilities are full and equal persons under the law and are entitled to equal access to opportunities afforded to all members of American society.
- People with disabilities are entitled to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination, and isolation. Instead, are to be treated with respect and dignity.
- People with disabilities have access to age-appropriate services and supports that are shaped by the unique needs and preferences of each individual. Such services and supports are designed to foster independent, productive, and integrated community life.
- People with disabilities has the right to make choices about all aspects of their life including daily routines and major life events.
Disability Rights Montana was founded more than 40 years ago, on September 28, 1977.
In 1977, we had only one funding source. In those early years, DD MAP – as we were then known – contracted its legal services with two Helena attorneys, and concentrated solely on providing advocacy and legal services to people with developmental disabilities. Today, Disability Rights Montana has eight funding sources, employs an executive director, three attorneys, seven advocates, a program director, a paralegal, a data coordinator, a finance/administration director, and an office coordinator.
In March 2008, we changed our name from Montana Advocacy Program to Disability Rights Montana. The change better reflects what we do and whom we serve.
In July 2008, we proudly opened our new location at 1022 Chestnut Street in Helena, Montana. After almost two years of searching and securing a fully-accessible facility, we now have a place and the space to do civil rights work and truly support the disability community. We now offer fully-accessible parking and meeting and multimedia rooms to like-minded groups.
We are one of the first Protection & Advocacy groups in the nation to purchase its own building. Ownership controls our costs and allows us to expand our services.
Disability Rights Montana is the federally-mandated civil rights protection and advocacy system for Montana. We have the legal authority to represent almost any person with a disability.
Board of Directors
Disability Rights Montana is governed by a statewide, cross-disability, volunteer Board of Directors. Through personal and professional experiences, the directors represent people with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and visual and hearing impairments.
The Board reviews the advocacy and legal needs of people with disabilities. It establishes priorities, policies, and the budget for our organization. Each year the Board determines the level of resources allocated to individual, systems, and policy advocacy to protect the legal, human, and civil rights of Montanans with disabilities.
Disability Rights Montana employs attorneys, advocates, and a variety of administrative support personnel, all serving a wide range of roles.